Monday, August 21, 2017

Decatur native and UIS alumni A.D. Carson experiences Charlottesville turmoil

A Decatur native and University of Illinois Springfield alumni who witnessed last weekend’s deadly clash in Charlottesville said the scene played out with much more chaos than depicted on television. 

"The smell, the sounds, things flying through the air, and the bull horns and angst, in a so-called quiet American city," said A.D. Carson, a 1997 Stephen Decatur High School graduate who has gained national prominence for his study of hip-hop.

Carson, who has a doctorate degree from Clemson University and began writing rhymes as a child, is starting as an associate professor of Hip-Hop and the Global South at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville this fall.

Last Saturday, he joined counter-protesters assembled in response to Neo-Nazis, skinheads and Ku Klux Klan members arriving after the city decided to remove a monument to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Heather Heyer, 32, was killed and 19 others were injured when the driver rammed a car into a crowd of demonstrators.

On the eve of the rally, hundreds marched through the University of Virginia campus holding torches and chanting racist slogans. The next morning, many looked like they were dressed for war as they made their way to Emancipation Park, said Carson, who also taught English at MacArthur High School.

Carson joins the UVA faculty as somewhat of a rising star in the academic world — he gained headlines last year for completing a dissertation in the form of a hip-hop album that explores rhetoric, American social history, and art.

Carson has a bachelor's degree from Millikin University and a master's degree from the University of Illinois at Springfield.

This story appeared in the Herald & Review on August 18, 2017.

Read the entire article online.